Voter guide: See 7th District candidates’ stances on abortion, education, more

Gun Rights

Minnesota has eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and all of them are up for election this fall.

In the 7th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach, a Republican who was first elected in 2020, is facing Jill Abahsain, a Democrat running for federal office for the first time, and Travis Johnson, a Legal Marijuana Now party candidate and combat veteran. The district covers most of western Minnesota. 

Here’s where each candidate stands on some of the issues most important to Minnesotans.

Abortion

Abahsain: She told the Star Tribune “Abortion is a medical procedure which requires private consultation between patient and physician. Personal tragedy is not up for public debate.”

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Fischbach: Fischbach opposes abortion at any stage of pregnancy. She also has spoken against efforts to promote taxpayer-funded abortions for undocumented immigrants. Her husband, Scott Fischbach, is an executive director at the anti-abortion nonprofit Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

Johnson:  MPR News could not find recent public comment on the issue.

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Crime, police and public safety

Abahsain: MPR News could not find recent public comment on the issue. 

Fischbach: She sells merchandise that says “Defend Police” and said on Twitter “a well-funded, well-equipped and well-trained police force is critical to the safety of our communities.” She voted against the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.

Johnson: MPR News could not find recent public comment on the issue.

Economy and tax policy

Abahsain: MPR News could not find recent public comment on the issue.

Fischbach: After the U.S. House passed the Inflation Reduction Act in August, Fischbach said in a statement, “this bill includes a plan to send 87,000 new IRS agents to shake loose change from Americans to pay for their spending spree, which sling-shot this country into the record inflation we are facing today. This bill is not designed to help the country recover. It is designed to send an IRS army after low- and middle-income Americans so Democrats can pay for their Green New Deal ambitions.” She also voted against the Build Back Better Act.

Johnson: “In lieu of income tax being used for roads and bridges, I’d like to see a national sales tax on non-food items implemented for this purpose. Federal spending should be limited to what is required by the constitution,” he said on his website.

Education

Abahsain: She supports “all initiatives to increase day care and Pre-School facilities” and said “we need to development funding structures that which mitigate lower rural population so that children across America, rural and urban, obtain quality education,” according to her website.

Fischbach: Fischbach served as the chairwoman of the Minnesota Senate Higher Education Committee during the 2017 state legislative session. MPR News could not find recent public comment on the issue.

Johnson: He wants to eliminate the Department of Education, as “It is the parents’ responsibility to oversee the education of their children, not the Government’s,” according to his website.

Environment and climate change

Abahsain: “Minnesota’s agriculture and tourism is at risk if we have climate change. Follow the science and mitigate where possible,” she told the Star Tribune.

MPR News could not find recent public comment on the issue from the other candidates. 

Farming

Abahsain: Protecting the Farm Bill is a priority, and she said on her website “Protecting this bill and the people who have built their lives in the 7th District are Jill Abahsain’s top priority. We can not allow Fischbach to bankrupt our communities by decimation of the Farm Bill. Protect your farm and your future in the voting booth on November 8th.”

Fischbach: “I will work to rebuild rural Minnesota’s infrastructure, support efforts to secure good trade deals for our farmers, invest in workforce development programs that prepare our workers for the jobs of tomorrow. I will also oppose the Green New Deal initiatives, which are effectively an attack on rural America,” she said on her website.

Johnson: “America’s large-scale food supply is vulnerable to interruption, as we quickly learned in 2020. The PRIME Act would allow small farmers and those raising livestock to sell direct-to-consumer without going through a federally inspected plant,” he said on his website.

Guns

Abahsain: “I would like the Dickey Amendment further loosened or removed so the CDC could study and make recommendations for this epidemic of death,” she told the Star Tribune, referencing a 1996 bill that stopped the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from funding gun-violence research.

Fischbach: She is against new gun restrictions, and is an avid supporter of the Second Amendment. She holds an A rating with the National Rifle Association.

Johnson: “The 2nd Amendment allows us the right to bear arms without infringement. It provides for our security, and is what keeps our Government honest. It was not added to the constitution to simply allow us to hunt, but to defend ourselves, our property, our rights, and our country,” he said on his website.

Health care

Abahsain: “Jill will support innovative projects for rural health care delivery such as mobile health units and well-coordinated patient transportation options. Moreover, attractive initiatives must be developed to attract more primary care physicians and specialists to our rural areas,” she said on her website.

Fischbach: Fischbach says she wants to offer Americans access to high-quality, affordable health care plans by patient-centered health care reforms. Her efforts focus on increasing competition and lowering costs without sacrificing protections for those with preexisting conditions. She disapproves of the Affordable Care Act. She opposes vaccine mandates and voted against a bill to help military veterans exposed to toxins from burn pits during their service.

Johnson: MPR News could not find recent public comment on the issue.

Immigration 

Abahsain: MPR News could not find recent public comment on the issue.

Fischbach: “We must secure our borders and build the southern border wall. Michelle will stand up to efforts by the radical left to abolish Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and promote open borders and sanctuary cities. She will work with law enforcement officials to restore the rule of law and order and is committed to finishing the southern border wall and supporting our ICE agents as they remove unlawful entrants and violent gang members from our county to keep America safe,” she said on her website. She voted against the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021.

Johnson: “America was formed by immigrants. We are the world’s melting pot, and celebrate that. Legally, immigrants should be able to come to the United States, but should not have to meet unreasonable standards to be allowed entrance. By reducing federal programs, the primary incentive to come to the United States would be to work for a better life, and that should be encouraged. For those who are already in the country, I would recommend a reasonable path towards legalization,” he said on his website.

The 2020 election

Abahsain: “First and foremost, I am running because I believe in a functioning democracy, and the first vote our incumbent cast was against a free and fair election,” Abahsain said, according to The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

Fischbach: She voted against a resolution to impeach President Donald Trump and then released a statement that said “With fewer than seven days remaining in this administration, we should be focused on moving forward and getting back to work on behalf of the American people.” She also voted against certifying the results of the 2020 election, saying it “was shrouded in allegations of irregularities and fraud too voluminous to ignore.”

Johnson: MPR News could not find recent public comment on the issue. 

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